How to Get Kids to Wash Hands the Right Way

keep-calm-wash-hands-400x400Now that school is back in session, kids are exposed to bacteria and viruses more frequently. Just three days into the first week of school, my fourth grade daughter came home with a fever. I was annoyed, but not surprised, at how quickly she had gotten sick.

When illnesses make the news, reporters always share advice from doctors on how to keep yourself and your family healthy. Hand washing is always on the list of things to do. It’s the easiest way to prevent illnesses from influenza to diarrhea. Wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry.

Handwashing Guildelines from the CDC:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

We all know that kids don’t always wash. They may skip it completely, or just wet and wipe their hands on a towel or their clothes.

To encourage my kids to wash their hands properly and for the recommended amount of time, I tried putting new words to the “Happy Birthday” tune. The CDC recommends scrubbing for the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday to You” twice.

To get started, wet your hands, get a squirt of soap, and start singing! Here are the words to go with the washing:

Sing to the tune of “Happy Birthday to You”
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Repeat.

Sure, it’s repetitive, but it’s easy to remember, and includes all of the important information. Scrub those hands! Palms, knuckles, and between the fingers.

I hope this little song is helpful for you and your family. Have a healthy school year!

For more information and instruction, check out these printable handwashing posters from the CDC:
germs-poop
How to Handwash
Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands
One Trillion Germs Can Live in a Gram of Poop

What if You Knew You Couldn’t Fail?

As much as I wish I could say I’m strong and brave, the truth is I’m very cautious, and even fearful. I am an excellent worrier. I worry about the future, the present and the past. I worry about things that I cannot control. I worry about things that happened years ago. Even though I know this is counterproductive, I can’t help it. It’s just the way I am.

So I was intrigued by this question that hit my inbox recently: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

My first thought was, “Everything I’m afraid to try!” Then I decided to narrow it down a bit. FLY! I’d totally jump off of something really high, and fly. Without a plane. Just fly like a bird. That’s what I’d do if I knew I couldn’t fail.

What about you? (Leave your ideas in the comments. I’m curious.)

In the meantime, I received this book to review, and I’m excited to read it. It’s called, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail? (How to transform fear into courage).” Written by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons, it is filled with inspiring stories of how real people have overcome fear, trials, and even failures, with courage and resilience.

Courage Is…
Courage Is… (Photo credit: Celestine Chua)

The personal stories are augmented with quotes, expert advice, and suggested actions you can take to overcome fear and be more courageous in your own circumstances. For example:

  • Ten things to do when you are so scared that you question your ability to keep going.
  • Using a journal to deal with fears.
  • Leaving old wounds behind so you can move forward.

And I love the quotes in the book! They are inspiring and worth reading, remembering and sharing. Like this one:

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, I’ll try again tomorrow. (Mary Anne Radmacher)

If you’d like to have a copy of this book, leave a comment on this post and I’ll choose a lucky winner. Thanks for reading. Have a courageous day!

“Courage” photo source (used under a Creative Commons license)

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Gratitude

I read in the Reader’s Digest that gratitude can help you be more healthy, less stressed, and more optimistic. People have been studying how gratitude affects a person’s well-being, both physically and mentally, and it seems to be quite a powerful force for good. Not only does it help a person feel better personally, but people who live gratefully are more likely to help others, which makes other people feel better, too. So it becomes a big, beautiful circle of gratitude. I like to think of myself as a grateful kind of person, but the scientists that did the study suggest keeping a gratitude journal. Apparently, taking time each day to remember and write down things for which you are grateful, helps you become a happier and healthier person. I will give this a try. And I will incorporate my gratitude journal into my blog. Feel free to comment and add your own “grateful moments” as well. Let’s all get happier together!